The UEFA Champions League Quarter final first leg matches have come and gone after so much anticipation. We did see some exciting games but not very much goals.
However, the games delivered all the promise of excitement we were expecting. The main talking point h came last night in the form of a brave Ajax team. This team of youngsters has refused to conform to the “underdogs” tag with their inspiring performance so far. Manchester City was stunned away to local rivals, Tottenham, falling to a 1-0 defeat. The “Theater of Dreams” wasn’t as dreamy as Manchester United fell to a 1-0 home defeat to Barcelona. Liverpool beat FC Porto by 2 unreplied goals at the Anfield and Juventus scrapped a 1-1 draw with Ajax in Netherlands.
These results leave the matches finely poised for the second leg games next week. And while we watched, we also learnt a few things. Here are 5 things we learned from the UCL quarter final first leg games.
- Ajax Fear Nothing
Everyone gave credit to this young Ajax team for their incredible feat in the previous round. They knocked out the reigning champions, Real Madrid in stunning fashion, by defeating them in Spain by 4-1. However, most people didn’t really give them much of a chance against Italian champions Juventus. And they proved everyone wrong by their display on Wednesday night. Ajax showed no fear. They put Juventus on the back foot from the start till the end. Even when they fell behind from a brilliant CR& moment, they continued to press till they forced a rare Juventus defensive mistake and grabbed the equalizer. It was the most exciting game of the quarter finals. And if they continue like this next week, Juve should be afraid. Be very afraid.
- Messi Still Has His Quarter Final Jinx
Like we pointed out in our previous article, Messi has not scored in this stage of the competition since 2013. This trend continued on Wednesday night when he played at Old Trafford. 6 years and counting without a goal in the UCL quarter final stage, this is becoming a jinx to Messi. This however didn’t stop him from making the assist for the only goal of the night. It’s Messi we are talking about here as we know he’s a genius and can do his magic anytime. Maybe he can also break the jinx in the second leg of the encounter come next week. Lets wait and see.
- Liverpool Are Taking No Prisoners
One team that is quietly advancing is this Merseyside team. Liverpool calmly condemned FC Porto to a 2-0 first leg defeat at Anfield and look like they won’t slow down for anybody. This team made it all the way to the final in last year competition but unfortunately lost out to Real Madrid. After knocking out Bayern Munich in the last round, they’d no doubt be fancying getting the trophy this time around. And they won’t allow anybody stand in their way.
- Tottenham Really Want A Trophy
This year UCL quarter final stage is dominated by English teams. It comes as no surprise that Tottenham is one of the teams still in the competition. The North London team is desperately searching for a trophy and it would be to get it in the UCL. This is also their only chance at silverware this season so they are fully in it. and they have shown their resilience, knocking out Borussia Dortmund in the previous round and claiming an important first leg home victory over Manchester City. Don’t expect these guys to give up easily next week.
- VAR and CR7 Still Getting All The Headlines
Since the introduction of VAR into the competition this season, it has not failed to bring up controversy. VAR was in the spotlight again on Tuesday night when a review awarded Manchester City a penalty for an unintentional Danny Rose handball. The funniest thing was that no one had protested or requested for a VAR review, not the Citizens, not the referee and definitely not Tottenham’s players. The VAR referee decided to review it and ultimately awarded a penalty, to the shock of many. Luckily for Tottenham, the penalty was missed but VAR had already stolen the entire spotlight.
Another constant in the UCL knockout stage now is this man, Cristiano Ronaldo. He always finds a way to turn up in the most important time as a great goal scorer. In an otherwise dismal display from Juventus in Amsterdam, their succor was in one man, CR7.
The Portuguese started and ended the move that led to Juventus’ goal, giving the Old Lady something to hold as leverage come next week. Apart from his goal, Ronaldo wasn’t involved much in the game and might be due to his coming from a long lay off. Many fans was also looking on him to have won the game for them on his own being the top player he is. However, Juventus still have some mountain to climb come the second leg next week as many fans and soccer pundits tips Ajax to daunt their chances in qualifying for the next round. Who knows? anything can happen.
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